Lift-off for online route to high-end food firms

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SHOPPERS can go online to buy and have delivered products from a variety of boutiques and stores that sell organic and local foods.

P.E. Mead and Sons Farm Shop in Wilstone, Tring Brewery, Eastwoods Butchers in Berkhamsted and Smith’s Coffee in Hemel Hempstead are among a host of quality independent retailers which have joined online shopping service withtilia.com.

The company has brought together the best products available in Hertfordshire to offer people the opportunity to buy local conveniently.

The business, being launched on Friday by entrepreneur Robert Ford, will be delivering goods from 15 Hertfordshire shops that have signed up to the scheme.

P.E. Mead and Sons sells home-produced meat, apple juice and rapeseed oil while Eastwoods is famous for organic meats.

Mr Ford’s vision was to help independent retailers and artisans by promoting, selling and delivering their goods online to help them compete with corporate giants.

In the run up to the launch he had to changed his business model to concentrate on luxury products because he found so many shop owners lacked the business acumen to make the idea work.

He said: “About 80 per cent of the businesses I wanted to involve were not standing up to the plate. It’s a real shame.

“It’s great to be working with the top end retailers but the social message has had to be tweaked.”